This page was created in hopes of answering all the questions that people ask Ann. She told me that if she answered all the questions that people asked her in their letters she would never have time to leave the house! She can't answer all the questions or all the letters, and the last thing she needs now is a guilt trip. If you have any questions you would like to ask Ann, please send them here! Check back monthly for more answers.
Patrick: Was (Vivian Leigh, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, fill in the blank) nice to work with?
Ann: Yes, it was wonderful working with everyone! We all got along well. I can't think of anyone who I didn't enjoy working with! Well, Wallace Beery. He would memorize his part of the script, and mine too. The he would recite his lines, and then mine, and then his, never letting me speak. He was always scratching himself inappropriately, and belching, and swearing. I just threw my hands up in the air and said "I can't work with this man!"
Patrick: Did you enjoy working in pictures? Was it fun?
Ann: Yes, it was a blast! It was just like the play acting we did when we were children. It was a fun, fantasy world. It was touching life at new points. I highly recommend working in movies. Everyone should do it!
Patrick: I know that a lot of actress's from your era were asked to read for the part of Rose in Titanic. Were you asked to play the older Rose in Titanic?
Ann: Yes, they approached me to do that part. But Honey, I retired over twenty five years ago! They wanted me to read for the part, and I just don't do that anymore. They told me I would have to go for location shooting in Mexico, and Poland. I said 'Mexico? Are you crazy?!' I've been to location shoots in Mexico before, and everyone ends up getting sick. And me, playing someone who's 101 years old? I'm not there yet!
Patrick: But think of how much fan mail you'd be getting if you were in Titanic.
Ann: I can hardly keep up with the mail I get now. I don't have a secretary to help me with it anymore. I retired over twenty five years ago, and I'm happily enjoying my retirement!
Patrick: Do people still approach you when you're in public?
Ann: Most of the time I'm able to come and go freely. Occasionally someone from my age group will approach me and say 'I know who you are!'. When I attend functions lots of people come to talk to me, because everyone there knows who I am!
Patrick: Did you know Deanna Durbin and Bonita Granville?
Ann: Yes I did. We used to call Deanna 'Edna Mae' back then. I still have a picture of us at my 21st birthday party.
I was the Matron of Honor at Bonita's wedding to Jack Wrather. I also threw both baby showers for Bonita's two children.
Patrick: Do you have any children?
Ann: I have a daughter with my first husband David, and I have a step daughter from my marriage to Bill Dozier. Her mother is Joan Fontain.
Patrick: Did you know Hedy Lamarr?
Ann: Yes. She was very beautiful, and very intelligent. Everyone wanted to look like her. Lots of women dyed their hair dark like hers. She had invented something during the war for a bombsite. They awarded her something for it finally last year. I heard her eyesight isn't very well anymore. She lives in Florida, but I don't know where.
Patrick: She lives in Altamonte Springs, Florida.
Ann: I remember she had an auction and sold everything she had down to her childrens last pair of socks. One time we were having a gathering at my house, and a woman had tripped, and cracked her head. Without hesitating Hedy rushed to the woman and placed her beautiful beaded purse under her head. The woman bled all over Hedy's purse while we waited for the emergency crew to arrive. I always thought how wonderful that was of her to do that for the woman!
Patrick: One of the funniest scenes I've ever seen was in Whistling In Dixie where you grabbed Chester's head, and were banging it over and over again on the floor. Do you remember that well?
Ann: Oh yes! Poor Rags Ragland. I was rough on him. In another scene I was supposed to hit him in the head with a frying pan, but the prop man gave me the wrong pan, and it was a real one. I bashed his head and hurt him! I had a lot of fun making those pictures, and I awoke one morning with such a pain in my ribs.
Patrick: From being thrown around?
Ann: No! It turned out that I was laughing so much from having so much fun that I probably pulled a muscle on my side! Red Skelton cracked me up!
Patrick: I noticed that Rags Ragland died at the age of 41 in 1946. He was so young! Do you remember what happened?
Ann: He was such a nice man. I think he had a heart attack.
Patrick: Ann, you must have been pretty petite. I saw Mickey Rooney recently when he toured with the Wizard of Oz, and he was quite short. In the Andy Hardy series, he appeared about the same size as you and Judy Garland. I know Judy was 4'11-1/2", so were you about the same height?
Ann: No! I was taller than Mickey. I was about 5'4", and continued to grow until I was 28. I'm about 5'6" still, and I haven't begun to shrink as Mickey has. When we were filming together I had to slouch! If we were walking down the street together they had to dig a trench for me to walk in!
Patrick: You have two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame. What were they for?
Ann: One was for Movies and the other was for Radio & Television.
Patrick: So there were radio shows that you were in?
Ann: Yes, I played Blondie for two years after Penny Singleton. It was easy money! We did the show for the east coast, then we would go the Brown Derby to eat, and then go back and do the show again for the west coast because it was live, not taped. They made me wear a blonde wig for the show, and I told them "This is radio, they can't see me". And I was told "The studio audience can see you, and everytime he calls 'Blondie' they'll laugh because you don't have blonde hair!" This was before canned laughter was invented.
I was also on the Eddie Bracken show for two years.
Patrick: I read in an interview that you played piano. Do you still play?
Ann: No. I haven't played in a long time. I still have three pianos around the house in case someone comes over who does play!
Patrick: You used to have those Hollywood parties everyone talks about, and you knew everyone?
Ann: Yes, I knew everyone. Laurel & Hardy, Abbott & Costello, Harold Lloyd. He used to shake with his left hand all the time because of his accident where he lost part of his right hand. Our favorite holiday was Groundhog Day! Everyone else had taken up the other holidays, so we adopted Groundhog Day as our party day!
Patrick: Your husband, William Dozier, produced the Batman show.
Ann: Yes, and he also did the voice at the beginning and end of the show. "Will Batman get out alive? Tune in next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!" He interviewed lots of people to read for the part, but none of them were corny enough. Finally the recording engineer said "read the damn thing yourself!" and he did! He was on every episode!
Patrick: Tell me about the Hollywood Canteen. What was it like?
Ann: John Garfield was there. He helped open the place. I had a lot of fun there. It was something we did to help "the boys" during the war. It was somewhere over in Hollywood, on Vine I think, but I don't remember exactly where. When some of the young men were too shy I would approach them and ask them to dance. It was just something we did to help out during the war.
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This listing and material Copyright © 1998 Patrick J. Picking.